Franchti cave (Mases)

The prehistoric cave Franchti at ancient Mases is undoubtedly one of the most important prehistoric sites in Greece. Finds from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods were made. The earliest finds date back to 35,000 BC., the latest to approx. 3000 BC. Besides numerous skeletal remains (hunting deer, equine animals, wild boar and, in the Mesolithic also fish), flint tools and (in the later period) ceramics, several graves were discovered in the cave itself. From 11,000 BC. there is evidence of the gathering of fruits and plants (almonds, pistachios, vetch, wild oats, barley) and the first agriculture from 700 BC. (Lentils, beans, wild pear)
Ancient Mases lay on one of the most important natural harbors in the Argolid bay, protected by a small island against high waves. In the time of Pausanias the originally independent Mases had been reduced to the second port of Hermione. Ancient remains of Mases are scarce, to mediaeval times date the remains of a castle, and a lone tower.


Pictures f.l.t.r the ancient tower of Mases, the bay of Mases and the entrance to the Franchti-cave. Above, the entrance and the cave. Below: some finds from the cave; source: